Trading Made Easy Pressure Oscillator

As always, this is not financial advice and use at your own risk. Trading is risky and can cost you significant sums of money if you are not careful. Make sure you always have a proper entry and exit plan that includes defining your risk before you enter a trade.

Those who have looked at my other indicators know that I am a big fan of Dr. Alexander Elder and John Carter. This is relevant to my trading style and to this indicator in general. While I understand it goes against TradingView rules generally to display other indicators while describing a new one, I need the Bollinger Bands, Bollinger Bands Width, and a secondary directional indicator to explain the full power of this indicator. In short, if this is strongly against the rules, I will edit the post as needed.

Those of you who are aware of John Carter are going to know this already, but for those who don’t, an explanation is necessary. John Carter is a relatively famous retail-turned-institutional (sort of) trader. He is the founder of TradetheMarkets, that later turned into SimplerTrading. Him and his company have a series of YouTube videos, he has made appearances on the MoneyShow, TastyTrade, and has authored a couple of books about trading. However, he is probably most famous for his “Squeeze” indicator that was originally launched on Thinkorswim and through his website but has now been incorporated into several trading platforms and even has a few open-source versions available here. In short, the Squeeze indicator looks to identify periods of consolidation and marry that with a momentum oscillator so you can position yourself in a quiet period before a large move. This in my opinion, is one of the best indicators an option trader can have, since options are priced both on time and volatility. To do this, the Squeeze identifies when the Bollinger Bands, a measure of price standard deviation, have contracted inside the Keltner Channels (a measure of the average range of a stock). This highlights something known as “the Squeeze”, when the 2x standard deviations (95% of all likely price movement using data from the past 20 periods) is less than the 1.5x average true range (ATR) of the stock over the same number of periods. These periods are when a stock is resting and in a period of consolidation and is generally followed by another large move once it has rested long enough. The momentum oscillator is used to determine the direction of this next move.

While I think this is one of the best indicators ever made, it is not without its pitfalls. I find that the “Squeeze” periods sometimes take too long to setup (something that was addressed by John and released in a new indicator, the Squeeze Pro, but even that is still slowish) and that the momentum oscillator was also a bit slow. They used a linear regression formula to track momentum, which can lag considerably at times. Collectively, this meant that getting into moves a few candles late was not uncommon or someone solely trading squeeze setups could have missed very good trade opportunities.
To improve on this, I present, the Trading Made Easy Pressure Oscillator. This more accurately identifies when volatility is reducing and the trading range is likely to contract, increasing the “pressure” on the price. This is often marked several candles before a “Squeeze” has started. To identify these ranges, I applied a 21-period exponential moving average to the Bollinger Bands Width indicator (BBW). As mentioned above, the Bollinger Bands measure the 2x standard deviation of price, typically based on a 20-period SMA. When the BBs expand, it marks periods of high volatility, when they contract, conversely, periods of low volatility. Therefore, applying an EMA to the BBW indicator allows us to confidently mark when volatility has slowed down earlier than traditional methods. The second improvement I made was using the Absolute Price oscillator instead of a linear regression-style oscillator. The APO is very similar to a MACD, it measures the difference between two exponential moving averages, here the 8 and 21 (Fibonacci EMAs). However, I find the APO to be smoother than the MACD, yet more reactive than the linear regression-style oscillators to get you into moves earlier.


1) Buying before a bigger than expected move. This is especially relevant for options traders since theta decay will often eat away much of our profits while we wait for a large enough price move to offset the time decay. Here, we buy a call option/shares when the momentum oscillator matches the longer-term trend (i.e. the APO crosses over the zero line when price is above the 200-day EMA, and vice versa for puts/shorting the stock). This coincides with Dr. Elder’s Triple Screen Trading System, that we are aligning ourselves with the path of least resistance. We want to do this when price is currently in an increasing pressure situation (i.e. volatility is contracting) to make sure we are buying an option when premium and Implied Volatility is low so we can get a better price and have a better risk to reward ratio. Low volatility is denoted by a purple dot, high volatility a blue dot along the midline of the indicator. A scalper or short-term swing trader may look to exit when the blue dots turn purple signalling a likely end to a move. A longer-term trend trader can look to other exit scenarios, such as a cross of the oscillator below the zero line, signalling to go short, or using a moving average as a trailing stop.

2) Sell premium after a larger than expected move has finished. After a larger than expected move has completed (a series of blue dots is followed by a purple dot), use this time to sell theta-driven options strategies such as straddles, strangles, iron condors, calendar spreads, or iron butterflies, anything that benefits from contracting volatility and stagnating prices. This is useful here since reducing volatility typically means a contraction of prices and the reduced likelihood of a move outside of the normal range.

3) Divergences. This indicator is sensitive enough to highlight divergences. I personally don’t use it as such as I prefer to trend trade vs. reversion trade. Use at your own risk, but they are there.

In summary, this indicator improves upon the famous Squeeze indicator by increasing the speed at which periods of consolidation are marked and trend identification. I hope you enjoy it.
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